The Circle Herstory & Key Dates

Our Story - Weaving our Circle Tapestry

In 1990, an original "woman-foursome" envisioned a place where women could join together to explore and celebrate the sacred in their lives, where they could articulate a spirituality expressive of their yearnings and hopes, a sprituality that enlivens the personal and the political, and that honours all religious denominations, yet goes beyond the boundaries of any one.

One of the first strands needed for the weaving of this new tapestry was a place to gather. Being an Ursuline Sister herself, Patty McLean immediately thought of Brescia University College. Founded by the Ursulines in 1919, Brescia has been a woman-led university since it's inception (and it is the only women's university left in Canada today!). Patty's proposal to Brescia's administration was accepted within hours and the beginning of a mutually empowering and supportive relationship had begun.

The next thread(s) was the gathering of women. The weaving began on 2 May 1990 when Patricia McLean, osu, Madeleine Hart, Margie O'Connor and Tammy Denomme met to share their hopes and let their imaginations run wild. The name "The Circle" surfaced from that sharing.

They began to ask themselves "Can The Circle, in true feminist style, 'dismantle the illusion of separateness?' And, in the uncovering of the sacred in the lives of women- through a variety of programs and events- confront the dualism of the academic versus the popular and bridge the gap between youth and maturity?"

After that initial gathering, each of the foursome invited another woman to join. Every invitation that was extended was accepted. What a confirmation! The expanded collective included Margaret Simpson, Shelly Siskind, Laurie Hazzard, Louise Peters, Barbara Anne Snyder and Krysal Kewayosh. These are our founding mothers, the "grand" mothers of our centre. In that first year, they put their focus into words and created The Circle's first mission statement. This statement continues to be a solid framework for the many other women who have since lent their energy and creativity to the "Planning Circle" (The Circle's governing board).

Since those beginning threads, many new strands have been added to our tapestry: Open Circles, The Circle Newsletter, The Circle Library, the Ritual of Re-Membering, commemorating the Montreal Massacre, the Brighid Festival, countless workshops and series and so much more. However, what continues to give our tapestry colour, richness and texture is the hundreds and hundreds of women since that have been a part of our membership and whose hopes, dreams and support have allowed The Circle to grow, spiral and flourish.


Key Dates in our Herstory

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